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Thursday, 16 May, 2002, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
Bush rapped over 11 September photo
George W Bush
Bush is shown 'doing his job for the US people' (AP)
A political row has erupted over the use by Republican fundraisers of a photograph of President George Bush aboard Air Force One on 11 September.

The Democrats argue that the president should not use his position as leader of the nation to further the Republican Party's political goals.

Offending flyer
The picture is one of three marking Bush's first year in office
Some Democrats have accused Mr Bush of showing a lack of respect for victims of the attacks, and said Republicans were trying to take advantage of a national tragedy to raise money.

The photograph is featured in a $150 package that depicts "the defining moments" of Mr Bush's first year in office.

It is offered to Republican donors as part of a fundraising effort for the November mid-term elections.

'Grotesque'

Democratic National Committee head Terry McAuliffe has said the decision was "nothing short of grotesque".

"We know it's the Republicans' strategy to use the war for political gain, but I would hope that even the most cynical partisan operative would have cowered at the notion of exploiting the September 11 tragedy in this way," he said in a statement.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer attempted to put some distance between Mr Bush and the Republican Party over the photo, saying "nobody in the White House knew that those specific pictures were going to be used."

He said the White House did not object to use of the photo as part of a $150 package, but that the decision over whether to use it did not reach the level of Bush political adviser Karl Rove.

The picture, taken by a White House photographer, shows Mr Bush on Air Force One talking to Vice-President Dick Cheney on the phone as the president was flying around the country in the hours after the hijacked plane attacks in New York and Washington that killed about 3,000 people.

See also:

16 May 02 | Americas
Bush was warned of plane hijackings
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